August 31, 2017

VSU Police Department Hosts Driver Safety Event with Hands-On Simulators Sept. 6

VALDOSTA — The Valdosta State University Police Department will host Driver Safety Demos from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 6, on the Front Lawn. Activities are free of charge and open to students, faculty, staff, alumni, retirees, and friends of the university.

“The event is a fun and engaging way to show students and the community all the things that can go wrong on the road because of careless decisions, as well as the simple things they can do to stay safe,” said Sgt. Heidi Bertsch with VSUPD.

Driver Safety Demos is a traffic safety event full of interactive simulations and information on the importance of safe driving.

The STOP (Safety Traffic Operation) Simulator will allow attendees to safely experience the effects of impaired driving. Licensed drivers will be able to wear special goggles and drive a golf cart through a closed course of orange cones.

Using mannequins, the Roll Over Simulator will demonstrate what happens if a driver or passenger is not wearing a seatbelt when a vehicle flips.

The Seatbelt Convincer Simulator will let riders feel the force of a wreck and see how a seatbelt truly is a lifesaver.

People will also see what a police car looks like after being flipped in an accident and have an opportunity to explore a B.A.T (Blood and Alcohol Trailer), which is used to process and hold drunk drivers.

Studies show that alcohol- or drug-impaired drivers are much more likely to cause car accidents, highway injuries, and vehicular deaths than non-impaired drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drunk driving crashes claim more than 13,000 lives each year.

Additionally, driving while distracted creates a crash risk 23 times greater than driving while not distracted, and while texting is the most alarming distraction, it is not alone. Using a cell phone, eating and drinking, talking to passengers, reading, using a navigation system, checking a map, grooming, watching a video, and adjusting a CD player, radio, or MP3 player all divert a person’s attention from the primary task of driving, putting the driver, his or her passengers, and any nearby bystanders at risk of serious injury and even death.

“I want people to come out and really see how immobilizing and dangerous it is to do those things,” she said. “Everybody thinks they can do it until they get behind that wheel.”

The simulations and equipment will be provided by multiple law enforcement agencies, including the Valdosta Police Department, Tift County Sheriff’s Office, Byron Police Department, Camden County Sheriff’s Office, and Charlton County Sheriff’s Office.

The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety awards the grants that allow local law enforcement to purchase the simulators.

Please contact Sgt. Heidi Bertsch at (229) 333-6024 or to learn more.

On the Web:

  • General VSU Information
  • 229.333.5800
  • Office of Communications
  • 229.333.2163
  • 229.333.5983
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    Office of Communications Powell Hall West, Suite 1120
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    1500 N. Patterson St.
    Valdosta, GA 31698